If you are living in a German city … No, let me begin anew. If you are living in a German university town—no. If you are living in a German town with a Volksfest—nah. O.K., last try: If you are living in ANY place populated by humans in Deutschland, you have most likely, no, surely encountered Betrunkene—Besoffene—drunks. Not just in bars, but also in train stations, on trains, in Wohngebieten (residential districts) … Alkohol ist die Volksdroge Nummer 1—the drug of choice for the average German. After all, this is the country of Bier. Sure, Czechs, Belgians, and others—even some Americans—make good beer as well, but it is German beer that has einen Ruf wie Donnerhall, that is most renowned all over the world—and next to cars and Brot (bread) the item that Germans sich etwas darauf einbilden, something they think they are the best at and get pretty stuck up about it. And more often than not, der Deutsche likes to down his Pils or Weizen or Export with a shot of Schnaps. Moreover, there also a couple of wine-growing regions like the Pfalz and Württemberg, thereby enlarging the menu of available Alkoholika that can be consumed.
But as with any drug, there are problems. While some jestfully claim that alcohol is not the problem but the solution (please refer further to any type of stupid alcohol-related motto on T-shirts), others, like the Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, publish reports about Sucht und Abhängigkeit (addiction). I do not want to bore you with numbers (and I do not want to look them up eithe but rather try to remember), but the data they give about regular alcohol abusers seems ridiculously low, something like 2 million Alkoholiker (alcoholics)—I’d say fivefold that number and you are closer to reality. Just go to any Kneipe on any given day to see people who drink their Feierabendbier—or a couple of them—to celebrate the end of the workday. And what about those drinking their Feierabendbier at home? Or their bottle of Rotwein per evening (possibly a really dry red wine, because that is all most Germans know in terms of wine—just to inform you, there are many other types, and many good ones are actually from Germany itself … ).
As I ranted in a very early post on this blog, it has been the Komasaufen of the German youth that has attracted a lot of media attention in recent years (if there is no Lebensmittelskandal or politician who has flunked on his dissertation, that is). Binge drinking, though, does not stop when Germans are 18 and can finally and legally buy liquor (Wein und Bier already ab 16). Take a walk through a university town on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. If students are not Vorglühen at home (drinking alcohol they bought in supermarkets for less than they would pay in a bar or club in order to get fucked up for the night), they do it on their way to event venues and bars where they continue to drink. Walk those same streets the next day and you will find yourself on an obstacle course consisting of Scherben of broken bottles and Erbrochenem (vomit) … If you are an Anrainer (you live in the neighborhood) and it is the night before, you might get pissed (no pun intended) off (see?) by chatting, laughing, and singing students. Which brings me to the latest fad of politicians: Alkoholverbot—trying to bring Ruhe und Ordnung (calmness and order) to Innenstädte (inner city areas) by proposing to forbid the Konsum (consumption) of alcohol in certain places (do I have to bring a brown paper bag from my next holiday in the States then?).
These very same politicans will, during the Volksfest (festival) season from May to September, be the first ones to publicly open a beer barrel (the Anstich) and have the first glass themselves, surrounded and watched by Volksmusik automatons. And after a couple of liters of Bier, the Volksfestbesucher (festival visitors) will be on their way home, which, surprisingly to them, is very shaky, as their movements in Schlangenlinien, either on foot or in cars, are witness to. And while they are at it and had oh so much to drink (and no nearby WC—geez, they would have had to wait in line for taking a piss!), they will just sich entledigen about anywhere and piss on your steps. Or do other things in your Vorgarten. You pervy minds will surely be able to imagine what I mean. But: this is all Tradition and Normalzustand (the normal way of things) … And therefore socially acceptable.
Maybe you will find yourself in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. If yes, and if you are looking to get some alcoholic beverages, you should keep in mind that Supermärkte (needs no translation, does it?) and gas stations (why do they sell alcohol at Tankstellen anyway? Don’t drink and drive, and when you can’t buy Alkohol at night, then it makes no sense, anyway, because wasn’t that the whole idea—to sell alcohol at gas stations—so that you could get beer et al. there when everything else is closed?) which have, by law, to stop selling beer, wine, liquor, and the like at 10 in the evening (yes, Germany does have supermarkets that are open later than 8pm. Even until midnight.). Die Begründung (the reasoning): to prevent (youth) binge drinking. Well, just go to the bar next door and get a bottle of beer “to go” … Or move to a big city in a different Bundesland where cornerstores selling any beverages that will get you wasted are open all night long.
So much for Ungereimtheiten (things that do no make sense) in the Vaterland for today. Prost! (And don’t you even dare to ever forget to look a German in the eye when you zuprosten!)